The Switch by Beth O'Leary Book Review

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O'Leary
Pages: 328
Publication date: April 16th 2020
Publisher: Quercus

About the book
Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena's tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it's time they swapped places...

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen's house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She'd like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn't offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen's romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn't as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect - and distractingly handsome - school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

I've been highly, highly anticipating the release of The Switch ever since I read and absolutely devoured Beth O'Leary's debut novel The Flatshare back in February, and lemme tell you, it absolutely did not disappoint.

The story was light in tone, but just like The Flatshare, it did touch on some important topics such as loneliness, grief, domestic abuse, mental illness and infidelity, which sounds like a lot, but the author manages to incorporate these subjects into the story without it ever sending the reader on a miserable downfall.

Both Eileen and Leena were both admirable and fascinating and both women touched on subjects that were relatable and interesting. Sure, there is of course going to be some extra fluff added to the story, but the overall perception of the book was that these are both strong women who stop at nothing to do the right thing, not only by themselves, but for those around them.

I also absolutely loved the contrast between the two settings. There was something incredibly interesting about switching from the busy, energetic streets of London with its go-getters and ambitious business men and women, to the quiet, idyll beauty of a teeny Yorkshire village with it's charming cottages and the quirky residents. Somehow the author manages to make these two very different settings have a real sense of community spirit and the notions of family, friendship, acceptance, stepping outside your comfort zone - no matter how old or young - was something that was right at the heart of this story.

I completely got lost in this book, and it was the perfect read for these unpredictable times that we're all living in. It was cosy, sweet and homely whilst also touching some pretty important issues without ever steering away from the endearing warmth of the characters.

I absolutely adored this book and enjoyed every bit of it as much as I thought I would and I cannot wait to see what Beth O'Leary releases next!

Verdict: ★★★★★

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